The first part of this year (way back in January--seems like so long ago!) was spent reorganizing and re-purposing things in my home. Husband initiated this process by moving some old furniture around and getting some new pieces to help us organize things a little better. So, I began to look around at all the little, smaller places of clutter in our home.

My solution?? Baskets and boxes!

I know this is nothing new and is quite a simple solution. But, when the little things have a "spot" it makes a big difference.

One day, my sweet neighbor came knocking at my door with a couple sets of nesting baskets, lined in a cloth of blue. She said she was going to throw them out, but wondered if I could use them for anything. Of course I could!!! I gave her a big thank you hug and got to work! Here are few of the smaller baskets.

A basket for the children's computer games.

A basket for the Wii Remotes and a few games as well.

This basket was initially part of a wedding shower gift set of
lotion, soap and candles. Now, it holds music CDs.

Another idea was photo storage boxes. My local craft store had them on sale, 5 for $10. I use them on my kitchen counter where paper and other odds and end tend to collect. I have one for myself for my coupon clippings and other miscellaneous papers. I also used one for each of my daughters to store their important papers from school.

These are the girls' boxes. . .
pretty patterns!

Each box can be labeled as well.

I also had to attack my laundry room shelves. . .yes, attack! They were just out of order. Many times, I have the thinking that, "It's just the laundry room; who cares?!" But the reality is that I spend a lot of my time in the laundry room, which also doubles as a pantry area for my family. Why not be more dilligent? Anyway, here's the before and after of the shelves above the washer and dryer.

Yes, Sisters! I know. . .there are no words.
But it was the reality.
Now, I am doing much better!
These are a couple of ways we've tackled clutter spots. What are some other ways I can keep organized? If anyone has some tips, please feel free to share them!!!

Baskets and Boxes

by on Sunday, February 27, 2011
The first part of this year (way back in January--seems like so long ago!) was spent reorganizing and re-purposing things in my home. Husba...

The past two weeks or so have been so full (and sometimes downright stressful) that it feels like months have passed!! I haven't been able to blog about the things in my heart or the projects in my home the way that I've wanted to. I haven't been able to visit my blogging friends as much as I would like to, either.


But, what I could do was take things one day at a time (sweet Jesus!) and pray that the Lord would see me through. I've been busy trying to keep everyone on pace and cared for and the past couple of weeks were challenging. So, here is what's had me so busy, nothing special, just life on overload! Please know, that in the midst of all my busyness, I am still gratefully thankful for my life!!!

  • Grocery Shopping--I try to go just once per month so that I'm not taking weekly trips. I find that shopping each week (for me) leads to overspending. If I get everything I need once each month, I really don't have a huge need to go again until the next month. However, since it is a once a month deal, it pretty much wipes my energy out for the day.
  • Swim Practice--So, we're trying to get our children to be like little fish! We've been in swim practice consistently since this summer, and our latest session started this month. So, we're at the pool 4 times a week; I'm even in a swim class this time around and I'm enjoying it. Husband and I want the kids not to have a fear of the water or wait until their adulthood (like I did) to begin swimming.
    • Which brings me to a sub-point: Finding a Swimsuit! I feel like I should start a swimsuit line for MODEST WOMEN of ALL SIZES at an AFFORDABLE price! Bear with me please, as I vent. I needed a new swimsuit, as I haven't been swimming in the last 6-7 years. (And moms know how much the body can change after having children!) Anyway, why is it that our society feels that if a woman wants to go swimming that she should be extremely revealing?! AND, it also assumes that only a certain age group or size of woman are the only ones that would want modest apparel. I was so outdone in searching for a swimsuit that was affordable and modest, that I literally prayed for the Lord's help. He blessed me to find one on clearance within my price range. It's funny how the swimsuit I chose was rated 5 stars by women who listed themselves as over 50 years of age. There are 30-somethings out there (ahem!) that want to be modest, too!! Be on the look out for the No Idle Bread swimsuit line! :o)
  • Valentine's Day Celebration--As you may already know, Husband and I decided to take our kids on a special "date" for Valentine's day. Dad with daughters and Mom with son. It was a lot of fun! You can read about it HERE.
  • Birthdays--My beautiful baby girl (TM) turned 6 this month! I can't believe it. . . how quickly they grow in mind, body and spirit. She is such a sweet heart, my little songstress. She is also our very own dog whisperer and resident veterinarian. When she grows up, she wants a farm with lots of dogs, cats, and horses and has plans to visit Paris. I love that little girl!! Also, my Dad had a birthday this month, too! We live in different states, so I wasn't with him to celebrate. But he was definitely on my heart. (I love you, Dad!)
  • Disney on Ice--A very good friend of mine had deeply discounted tickets to see the show and invited us along. Husband and I decided we would give it a go, especially since the cost was so low for the 5 of us. The only downside was in order for us to go at such a good price, we had to go on a weekday. As you know, my children are not yet home schooled, so there was no adjusting the next school day because of three sleepy heads! :o) Husband and I simultaneously had a "note to self" moment: "No more Disney on Ice on the weekday, unless we're homeschooling!" We didn't get home until about 10:15pm, BUT the kids had so much fun. They each went to bed dreaming of their favorite characters swirling around on the ice!
  • Snow and School--Speaking of ice, there have been a few wintry mixes, and where I live, schools close for just a dusting. . . or school may not be cancelled at all, even when the streets are ice-covered. Go figure! So, when there is a chance for snow, I never know whether or not schools will be open, closed, or delayed until the day of! It was difficult to plan my days. Also, one of my daughters had a 100th day of school celebration, which kept getting pushed back because of snow. There were Valentine's day events, an honor awards ceremony, and early dismissals as well.
  • Busy Husband--He was just that, busy. Work was extremely busy for him and sometimes stressful. I prayed a lot for him; Husband prayed a lot, too. It was just a busy time--I can't say much more than that. What I can say is that Husband does very well not to carelessly dump his stresses from work on me. But when you love someone and you know them so well, it's hard not to feel a bit of that stress with them. God, bless my Husband!
Throw in a handful of doctor's appointments and a sick child, and you've got a good idea of what has been going on! But above all, God is faithful. Even in my stressful times, He's there. I'm thankful for the upcoming days of a slower pace and praying that I get a little more rest. I'm thankful for learning a great lesson in over-extending myself and how that is not always wise. When I'm stressed, it can very easily spill over onto the rest of my family.

For those of you who have read this post in its entirety, even with the lack of photos, thanks for so much "listening"! God bless you.

2 Weeks or 2 Months??

by on Tuesday, February 22, 2011
The past two weeks or so have been so full (and sometimes downright stressful) that it feels like months have passed!! I haven't been a...

This Valentine's Day, Husband and I decided to do something a little special for our children. We're going to pour on a little extra love by taking them out on "dates." Daddy and daughters will have a special evening out, with dinner at a restaurant of the girls' choice. Mommy and son will have a special midday treat at a place of his choice. These things do not define love, but are just a means of expression of the love in our hearts.

This was actually Husband's idea, as he wants to make it a point to show our girls how special they are to him specifically. He wants the girls to know that they are God's princesses, left in our care and that it is his honor, as their father, to treat them kindly and delicately, protecting them as they grow. He felt that this would be one of the ways to express that fatherly love. How awesome!

These impressionable years are not only when our children learn about our Christian faith, our values, right from wrong, etc. It is also when we are shaping them into future husbands and wives and, just as importantly, what qualities they will look for in their future spouses. These things are taught in our day to day living, what we say, the ways we show affection, our tone of voice, what we are willing to give. They are sometimes taught in some of the special memories we create with our children as well.

Here's to Valentine's Day with the kiddos!!

Husband and the girls headed out to dinner.
Yes, TM has her own style about her; LOL!

At lunch time, all the kids enjoyed a heart-shaped
PB&J with a Valentine.

My son and I on our way to. . . .

He specifically stated that he wanted to go to
the grocery store so he could ride in the cart
and pick a cookie!
TM and her Valentine's pig.
SJ and her Valentine's cow.

I was listening to the radio the other day and was drawn to the words of this song. It's sung by Canton Jones called Love Song. The melody is nice enough, but it's the question it poses that really drew me in. The song is written as though God is speaking. Here are the main verses:

"I made the heavens farther than the eye can see,
placed the stars in the sky,
made the moon shine brightly.
Woke you up with the sun
shining through your window.
Sing you a serenade every time the wind blows.
See the earth in all of its beauty?
It all came from Me.
Take the time to look above,
and you'll know you can't sing about love
Without singing about Me!"

"I made the clouds,
even the air you breathe.
Made you in My image,
so that you can be like Me.
My love is sweet,
gonna make you happy.
Such joy and peace, I
wanna give you all of Me.
It's the reason why you smile.
It makes living all worthwhile.
It will bring tears to your eyes.
So how you gonna sing about love,
without singing about Me?"

Over and over throughout the song, the question is posed, "How can you sing about love, without singing about Me?" This is such a relevant question. How can we sing, or do anything for that matter, in the name of love, without God? How can we make a declaration or profession of love for anyone or anything, without the love of God? This just makes me a little more mindful about what I do in the name of love. As Christians, we cannot separate "love" from "God." We can't exclude Him . . .
". . . for God is love."
-1 John 4:8
{This post is linked HERE at GoodMorningGirls}

Love Song

by on Tuesday, February 08, 2011
I was listening to the radio the other day and was drawn to the words of this song. It's sung by Canton Jones called Love...

Illustrated by Marijke ten Cate
Compiled by Tama Fortner

The Beginning Reader's Bible is a great addition to our children's Bibles. It is wonderfully illustrated and contains stories from both the Old and New Testaments. It is written using actual Bible verses from the International Children's Bible translation, which makes it easier for children to read and understand. Under each story title is the book of the Bible that the story comes from, as well as the chapters and verses used. This is important because it encourages children to understand that these aren't simply stories, but actual passages of Scripture.

One of my favorite things about this Bible are the tools and resources it provides. In the back of the Bible, for example, are things like well-known passages, Scripture memory verses, songs, charts, the books of the Bible, and most importantly, a Prayer of Salvation. We also enjoyed a section found in each story called "Do God's Word." It offers a practical way for children to apply what they read in their lives. For example, my children and I read "Nehemiah and the Broken-Down Wall." This is the story where Jerusalem's walls had been destroyed and Nehemiah came to help rebuild. The "Do God's Word" portion of the story says:

"The wall of Jerusalem surrounded and protected God's people. Prayer does the same thing. When you talk to God, you are surrounded and protected. Ask your parents if you can build a fort out of pillows and cushions. When you're done, hide in the middle and thank God for His protection."

So we did just that . . .

We are thoroughly enjoying The Beginning Reader's Bible. One of my daughters chose to take it with her to church last Sunday and we've used it for morning devotions. If I had to make any suggestions, I would recommend a different title. I chose this Bible with my son in mind, who is literally a "beginning reader." Although the text is easy to understand, it is far beyond the "beginning reading" stage.

I was expecting it to be written so that he could read it independently. Now I understand that the intent was not necessarily for those who are beginning to read, but more specifically to those who are new to reading the Bible. That might be a little confusing to some (or maybe not; it could just be me!). Even so, I was very pleasantly surprised!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review blogger's program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission.

Last night, my children had me in stitches!!!

So, I was brushing my girls' hair before bedtime and my 7 year old daughter came up to me and said, "Mom, why did the Israelites have to fight the Philippines--wait a minute, uhm, the Philistines?" LOL!!

After a brief discussion about the consequences a nation faces when they make a mockery of God and His people, the conversation then turned to hawks. (Yes, hawks--don't ask me how!) My 5 year old daughter was trying to figure out if hawks were nocturnal animals. We talked about what nocturnal meant and my thoughts on the matter, although I wasn't completely sure.

My 5 year old said, "Mommy, I think you and Daddy are nocturnal!! Every time we go to bed, you guys are still awake!" LOL

At about this time, my 3 year old comes running from his room calling "Mommy, Mommy!" He had been in bed for about 15 minutes or so. I'm like, "what is it, son?" He said, "Mommy, you closed my door. Now, it's dark in my room and now, I can't see my eyes!!!!" LOL!!!!!!!!!!
(Never mind that he's been going to bed with his door closed for a long time now.)

So, we got him all set up with a night-light which was fine. . . until the night-light cast shadows he was unfamiliar with and then he thought, forget it! Let's go back to the darkness!

Oh, my kids are such a blessing and such sweet comic relief!

{This post is linked HERE at RaisingHomemakers}

Hilarious Bedtime Babblings. . .

by on Thursday, February 03, 2011
Last night, my children had me in stitches!!! So, I was brushing my girls' hair before bedtime and my 7 year old daughter came up to ...
The beautiful song below reminds us to give everything we have to the Lord.

The Bible says in Mark 12:30, "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment."

Lord, help me to love You completely. In Jesus' Name, amen!

He Wants It All

by on Tuesday, February 01, 2011
The beautiful song below reminds us to give everything we have to the Lord. The Bible says in Mark 12:30, "And you shall love the LOR...
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